Fred Lynn was one of the most dynamic Red Sox players of the 1970s and a huge “what if” in their history. What if he hadn’t been bothered by injuries? What if he’d played his entire career in Boston? In any event, the Red Sox got the best out of Lynn during the seven seasons he spent with the team from 1974 to 1980.
Coming up late in the 1974 season, Lynn had perhaps the greatest rookie season of all time in 1975, hitting .331 with 21 home runs, 105 RBI and leading the league in runs scored (103), doubles (47), slugging percentage (.566), and OPS (.967). He won both the American League Rookie of the Year and the AL MVP awards, the first player in baseball history to win both in the same season.
In his Red Sox career, Lynn put up a .322 batting average with 124 home runs, 521 RBI, 944 hits, 523 runs scored, an OBP of .396, and an OPS of .937. Despite his all-out approach to playing, he was remarkably durable in Boston, playing in 828 games over seven seasons. He won Gold Glove awards in 1975, 1978, 1979, and 1980 and might be the single greatest center fielder the Red Sox have ever had (Jackie Bradley is probably the only one who compares defensively).
Unfortunately, Lynn’s hard charging, all-out style of play led to the knee problems that would slow his career down when he was traded away after the 1980 season. The fact that he was traded in the same offseason that the team let Carlton Fisk and Rick Burleson go has upset Red Sox fans ever since and signaled the end of an era.